Auburn Drops Series Finale, 7-6, To Alabama
May 15, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's ninth-inning rally came up a run short as it fell, 7-6, on Sunday afternoon to Alabama at Plainsman Park. The loss created a four-way tie atop the SEC West standings between Auburn (28-24), Alabama (31-22), Arkansas and Mississippi State at 13-14 in SEC play with one series left for each.
"We battled back, all the way to the end, but we just came up short today," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Obviously our goal is to find a way to win the series and then today our mindset was to finish the series. I thought the team was ready to play today and they competed hard."
Tied at 4-4 heading into the ninth, Alabama scored three times off of Auburn starter Slade Smith (2-1), who lasted a career-long 8 2/3 innings, to take a 7-4 lead. An Andrew Miller (3-for-4) single and a one-out walk to pinch hitter Josh Rosecrans set the table for Taylor Dugas (3-for-5, R, 3 R) and the top of the Alabama order to start the three-run inning.
Dugas doubled in a run to put two in scoring position before Brock Bennett bounced one back to a drawn in infield, which Wes Gilmer fired home to get the lead runner for the second out of the inning, though runners were on the corners. Back-to-back RBI singles by Jared Reaves (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Austen Smith (2-for-4, 2 RBI) followed to put the Auburn deficit at three with only three outs remaining.
Creede Simpson (1-for-4) led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run to cut the lead to two, 7-5, and Casey McElroy (2-for-4, 2 RBI) doubled in Justin Fradejas (1-for-2, RBI, 2 R) to get to within a run with the tying run in scoring position but Alabama reliver Tucker Hawley (6-2) struck out Tony Caldwell (1-for-5) with McElroy at second to end the game.
Auburn had taken a 2-0 lead in the first on a McElroy sac fly and a Gilmer (1-for-4, RBI) double before Alabama tied it in the fourth on back-to-back RBI singles from Brett Whitaker (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Smith.
Alabama then went up 3-2 in the sixth on Smith's RBI double to left before Auburn answered with two in the bottom of the seventh on a perfectly executed squeeze play by Justin Hargett (1-for-3, RBI) and a Fradejas sac fly to go up, 4-3.
Alabama tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth on Reaves RBI single to score Dugas.
Auburn heads to South Alabama for its final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday at 6pm before finishing up the regular season at Tennessee from Thursday through Sunday.
Alabama 7, Auburn 6 (May 15, 2011 at Auburn, AL)
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